NEW YORK — A top News Corp. executive on Wednesday reaffirmed support for embattled magnate Rupert Murdoch and “flatly” rejected a British parliamentary report calling him unfit to run the media conglomerate.
Murdoch is “one of the smartest and most forward-thinking executives of our time and both I and the board rebut any notion that he is unfit to run the company,” deputy chairman Chase Carey told an earnings call in which Murdoch did not participate.
“I flatly reject the notion that Rupert is unfit to run a major media company,” Carey told the conference call on the media conglomerate’s third quarter results, a week after a scathing report from a British panel on a phone-hacking scandal.
Carey said that at News Corp., “we take these issues very seriously and our board and management team remain committed to keeping the company on the right track.”
The company previously expressed “full confidence” in Murdoch, who holds a powerful grip on the New York-based media giant through his holdings and a dual stock structure.
The British report was the result of hearings that started shortly after the News of the World, which was the nation’s biggest-selling Sunday newspaper, shut last July amid public outrage over the hacking of phones of public figures.
It concluded that Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” but some members of the British parliamentary committee contended that the report was partisan.
The report added to pressure on Murdoch from the phone hacking scandal, which erupted and led to the closure of News of the World in July 2011 after revelations that the tabloid had accessed the voice mails of a murdered schoolgirl.